Reflections on the Readings
The Epiphany of the Lord - January 8, 2011 - Year B
By Dennis S. Hankins
Let There Be Light
When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy; and going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshipped him.
Duplicity and deceit breed darkness. These twins lurk in the shadows to maintain their existence. They feed on the unsuspecting. They avoid detection by pointing out the faults and failings of others. And before the trusting and the loving realize they've been duped the twin towers of terror crawl back into the covering of darkness. Such do not inherit the kingdom of heaven - a place of great light - for God is light and in him is no darkness.
The great and holy truth is that Light has come. Jesus, the light of the world, came to us to set us free from the dark and damp and divisive world of darkness. The wise men from the East were drawn to him and the world with them. Mary and Joseph cradled him. Shepherds were shown the way to him. "Go and find him!" the angel of the Lord proclaimed, "For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord."
The first reading explains vividly the darkness. The thick dark clouds cover the hearts and minds of the nations. But in the city of Bethlehem the promise of no more night and no more darkness is born. From the infant in the feed trough a Light shines upon the world. And everywhere on this planet this Light reveals the worth of everyones soul.
The revelation of grace in the second reading describes this Light as a mystery. It has become the stewardship of the Church to make the mystery of grace known. This Light of grace has been revealed announcing the end of division and strife - we are all members of the same body and coheirs in the promise we have of Christ announced to us through the gospel.
Together we are called to extend the Light of Christ. Through us this light is to shine to bring us together, to defeat all that offends the dignity of humankind, and to invite the nations and their rulers to this bright and brilliant Light. The united sons and daughters of earth can in Christ's Light and Love defeat the powers of satan and cradle in their warm embrace the weak, the weary, and the wayward.
It remains for us who are touched by the baby wrapped in swaddling clothes to go and tell of his coming from the tops of the mountains. The Christmas star is a light that causes us to rejoice. In its light we are led to the Light of heaven. All of the love of heaven, the glory of the Lord, awaits us in the feeding trough over yonder. To us and for us and for the life of the world, the true Light of our soul is cradled in the arms of Mary and Joseph.
But there are none so blind as those who refuse to see the goodness and the wonder of the Love Light sleeping in the manger. The eyes of their heart are blinded, not by too much light but by too much darkness. Blindness of soul and heart is the mission field of the Church. It is the old arena of the new evangelization - the hearts and minds and souls of family and friends who call darkness light and light darkness. For them we must let our light shine so that they may see our good works and learn to give God the praise that is due him. For them we must show the virtue of forgiveness. For them we must share the power of true charity - the unselfish love that desires nothing in return - a love that has no agenda - the love that is poured into us by the Holy Spirit - a love that has no other motive but the good of the other. This Light seen in this light helps us to see how dark the Darkness is.
Not all rejoice in the Light. For them we will pray. There is nothing more profound than human beings letting the God of Light into all of their life. Today we come to God's Light. We receive this bread as the very body of Christ. We drink this wine as his own precious blood. Into us this Holy Eucharist brings more of Christ's Life and Light. From this Holy Food we receive more of the heart and mind of Christ. From this Holy Communion we take into ourselves and into our world the Light of the world.
At this Table let us profess that we also have seen the Son of Mary and fall down and worship him. Amen.